If you are looking to your family and friends to make the sales to build your business, you just might be looking in the wrong place.

I know I’m always saddened when I read training materials that suggest making a list of everyone you know and then trying to get them to both make a purchase and also join your team. In fact some training materials tell you that if this feels uncomfortable to you then direct sales might not be right for you.

There is a reason that you get a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think about having to contact your long last relatives and friends you’ve not seen since the last big gathering. It feels funny, because it’s not the way to build a business.

My sister in law cuts hair. When she cuts my hair or my kids’ hair, she doesn’t charge us. Her business is not built off making money from those in her family. I have another friend who specializes in the graphic design field. When she helped me with a banner, she did not expect payment. Her business is built off of customers she has found through her marketing efforts. One more friend owns a restaurant. When his family comes to eat, they are not given a bill. They come and eat for free. So, why in direct sales are distributors told to build their businesses off of family and friends?

Before I continue, I want to be very clear that letting family and friends know you are in business is fine. It’s very different to make a statement, versus making a sales pitch.

Think very long term. Even if you knew 100 people and 50% of them ordered products from you 3 times per year, you are looking at only 13 orders per month. This is great, but it’s not a full time business. Again, you can not rely on your family and friends to build your business.

Over the years I personally have lost two friendships due to poor training from a well meaning upline leader. In both cases the upline leaders convinced my friends that if I were a true friend I would support them and that support meant joining their team. While not all prospecting efforts end relationships, it certainly can damage them. Remember that funny feeling in your stomach? You know that a potentially damaged relationship might be the result of approaching family and friends.

Instead of relying on family and friends to help you build your business, develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan can be very simple, but it will be a plan of how you hope to find both customers and those who wish to build a business with you. Of course let your family and friends know you are in business, but market according to the plan you have created. Don’t harm relationships by approaching family and friends.

Audrey Okaneko has worked at home since 1983. She can be reached at audreyoka@cox.net or visited at www.recipe-barn.com